WHEN THE MEN
MARJORIE HERRERA LEWIS
Genre: Historical / Biographical / Sports Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of Publication: October 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 240
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A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940s Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war.
Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism.
Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over eighteen and under forty-five are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy’s knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach.
Faced with extreme opposition by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees -- and even the players themselves -- Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team -- and the town -- to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget.
Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and
vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.
PRAISE FOR WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE:
"Sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics, and the impact of war on a small town in Texas.” – Best of Books, 2018, Sports Illustrated
“A beautiful story that stays in your heart long after you finish reading.” - Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author Based on a true story that most people probably don’t know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis’ debut. -- Kirkus Review
My memories of high school football games and all the emotions they invoke are great. And I love underdog stories, especially when it comes to women and World War II. So when I heard of "When the Men Were Gone," I knew it was something I want to read (hear), and in fact I bought it right away, then I allowed it to sit in my audio queue.
I shouldn't have done that and I'd like to save you from making that mistake, too. Because sportswriter Majorie Herrera Lewis's new little book is a gem and a real touchdown.
Based on a true story, the book drops you right into a bad situation for Tylene Wilson, a vice principal at the high school in Brownwood. Due to the war, the football team is in need of a coach and if she fails to find one Tylene knows her senior boys may be tempted to quit school and enlist. While Tylene is as patriotic as any American, she knows that war is no place for a high school aged boy.
The fact is, football is something that Tylene has always shared with her father. And not just the game itself, but the intricacies of it. So it's a wonder that Tylene doesn't realize from the beginning that she could be the coach. Of course, when her husband points that out to her, Tylene is the first to balk. She's a woman! She'd never be accepted as a coach on the field. And we all know what will happen if/when she dares step into those shoes.
What ensues is a great book, a great Texas football story, a great women/leadership story. So far this is the book this year I want to hand out to all my friends and say: read this. Also, Marjoie Herrera Lewis has such a deft touch with football she made me want to learn a little bit more about the intricacies of the game. (Ya'll please don't tell my husband that. Maybe I'll just memorize me some of Tylene's quotes and impress the socks off of him.)
So don't do what I did. Go ahead and buy the book and read it, right now. And enter the giveaway so that you can spread the wealth.
Thank you to the author and publisher for a copy of the book for an honest review. Yes, I read the copy between listening to my purchased copy because I needed to know what was going to happen more quickly than I could with a typical audible listen. Can't wait for this author's next book.
Marjorie Herrera Lewis is an award-winning sportswriter, named the first female Dallas Cowboys beat writer when she was with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She later joined the SportsDay staff of The Dallas Morning News, where she continued to cover the NFL and professional tennis. She is currently a contributing sportswriter for PressBoxDFW.com.
While writing When the Men Were Gone, she became inspired to try her hand at coaching football herself and was added to the Texas Wesleyan University football coaching staff in December 2016. Marjorie has degrees from Arizona State University, The University of Texas in Arlington, Southern New Hampshire University, and certificates from Southern Methodist University, and Cornell University. She is married and has two grown daughters and one son-in-law.
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